The bookstore smelled like a freshly opened package of paper with an undertone of cardboard boxes. I breathed deeply as much to enjoy the scent as to take in oxygen to calm my racing heart. I nervously made my way through the aisles, trying to look like I belonged, wishing I had my kids with me so I could hide behind them.
“Um, maybe, ah,” I stammered. I lowered my eyes and blurted, “I think I’m looking for a devotional to read every day.” Already berating myself for not really knowing what I wanted, or even what I needed to be looking for, I felt this Christian woman could see how far I had fallen away from my upbringing, from God.
“Well, we have a lot of daily devotionals. Do you know any of the authors who would interest you?”
“No,” I admitted. “But I don’t want anything too short or simple, like a Daily Bread. I want something deeper.” I rushed on, clarifying, “And I want Scripture, not just a preachy opinion about the Scripture.”
I could feel her eyes measuring me. “I think what you might be looking for is a Bible.”
“Oh, I have a Bible,” I assured her, thinking of the small, pink Bible with the tiny print I had bought as a teenager to carry in my school bag. I wondered if I could find it.
“Let me show you the one I am thinking of. It’s a Daily Walk Devotional Bible. There is a short piece explaining the section of Scripture that is read. It’s set up to read each day and go through the Bible in a year.”
The Bible was weighty in my hands. I flipped through, seeing the daily layout and the explanations that gave both educational information as well as application to life. It felt warm and comfortable.
“This is a New Living Bible, which is a paraphrase that is easier to read than an NIV or King James Bible.”
I nodded as though I understood what the differences could be. The cost was more than I wanted to spend, but I knew I would pay the price to be able to discover how to serve the God who gave forgiveness and healing.
This Bible walked me gently back to a committed relationship with God. So many verses were underlined and written into my journals as God’s Word spoke to my specific circumstances, sins, and fears. Sometimes I would compare the words to the King James Version I had grown up with.
I still return to a Daily Devotional Bible whenever I feel lost or dry. I recommend this type of reading to anyone who wishes to develop a habit of daily Scripture reading or who wishes to spend time learning and listening to God, but I also caution them not to beat themselves up if they miss a day or three. Just start on the present date, not trying to "catch up." It's more important to absorb what is being read than to read it all in a certain time.
Over those years I claimed two verses for healing and for the hope of writing.
“For God has not given (me) the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV)
“That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all your wondrous works.”
Psalm 26:7 (KJV)